RALEIGH – President Donald Trump was in Charlotte Friday attending an Opportunity Now summit to tout new efforts to revitalize lagging regions with economic opportunity. A lot of the designated ‘opportunity zones’ are in African-American neighborhoods, and the president’s visit during black history month is in many ways an appeal to Americans that historically vote overwhelmingly Democrat. That could be changing, as with nearly everything else Donald Trump approaches, the president’s broken the mold in delivering results for African-Americans, all Americans, like never before.
#BLEXIT (Black Exit) chapters have opened across the country, including here in North Carolina, and polls suggest as much as 30 percent of African-American voters hold favorable opinions of President Trump’s performance. If those numbers actually translated to votes in the 2020 election it’d be a tectonic shift in historic voting trends.
But will it translate? Never say never.
Clarence Henderson, President of the North Carolina chapter of the Frederick Douglass Foundation, which seeks to grow the ranks of conservative Christian black Republicans, says Trump asserts “done more to empower African Americans than any U.S. President since Abraham Lincoln – and he’s just getting started.” He doesn’t say that lightly; Henderson was among the sit-in movement in Greensboro in 1960 to desegregate lunch counters.
In an op-ed for the Greensboro News & Record, Henderson outlines the litany of achievements Trump has marked in his first term, leading to the best economy for African Americans in national history:
“[…] Since February is Black History Month, now is an excellent time to reflect on the incredible progress African Americans have made over the past three years.
Before Trump, the black community endured decades of broken promises from the political establishment in Washington. For years, liberal politicians have vowed to tackle the sky-high black unemployment rate and create jobs for African Americans. They pledged to implement policies that would boost our income, insisting that poverty can be cured with welfare.
Yet, after winning our votes, Democratic politicians — including President Barack Obama — either ignored the needs of African Americans or demonstrated the futility of their discredited socialist policies. Much like the tax rate, the black unemployment rate remained high throughout the Obama years, contributing to widespread suffering among millions of African Americans. Instead of collecting higher paychecks, more and more black families were forced to rely on food stamps — depriving them of the dignity that comes with being able to provide for one’s own family.
When Trump won the 2016 election, I kept my expectations in check regarding how much he could do for African Americans during his first term, given that his policies would have to make it through Congress. Remarkably, however, Trump only needed three years to create the best economy for African Americans in U.S. history. […]”